Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Samsung returns the control ring in Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

The circular touchscreen of the Galaxy Watch 6 is about to gain a sibling with ring control once again, as Samsung revives its unique style of controlling a smartwatch.

Alongside the launch of new foldables phones and a sizeable waterproof tablet (something we’ve been waiting on for a while), Samsung also had something else for announcement ready to be worn.

No, it’s not a new pair of earphones, as last year’s Galaxy Buds go without an update this year it seems. Rather, it’s a couple of of watch models, with both offering the touchscreen, but one bringing back something familiar: a physical control ring.

If you’ve been around Samsung’s smartwatches for long enough, you may know the circular design has basically been one of the main things that sets Samsung apart from its obvious competitor in the Apple Watch. Rather than adopt the softened square, Samsung goes for the traditional circular form-factor wristwatches are known for, making its wearable look like a regular watch, kinda sorta.

Samsung isn’t alone in this, though. Models from the Fossil Group including Skagen do just that, as does TAG Heuer’s pricey smartwatch, and even the Google Pixel Watch.

However, up until recently, one thing set Samsung’s models apart from the other circular smartwatch models: physical controls.

While the Samsung Galaxy Watch range has always offered a circular touchscreen, select models also provided a circular ring to let you dial in menu items and control things more quickly. It was one of the features we’ve loved about Samsung Gear S3 and subsequent Galaxy Watch models, though when Samsung did away with it in the Galaxy Watch 5, we were surprised.

But the good news is that Samsung’s circular ring is back in the Galacy Watch 6 Classic, while the regular Galaxy Watch 6 skips on the ring and offers a touchscreen-only experience. So what else is new?

What’s new in the Galaxy Watch 6 range?

A new generation of Galaxy Watch means new features for the range, and that seems to largely be about health, which is hardly a surprise given that seems to be the focus of every wearable lately.

For Samsung, it means new sleep tracking with different factors covering a sleep score, while sleep coaching will provide insights on how to get better sleep. Samsung will also be connecting a “Sleep Mode” and mute phones, watches, and switch off all unnecessary lights while you sleep, because the last thing you need is distractions when you’re trying to get some shut-eye.

When you’re awake, the Galaxy Watch 6 will use its combination of health sensors to understand your body composition, covering water and fat percentage thanks to the bioimpedance sensor it introduced in last year’s Galaxy Watch 5, while a new heart rate zone can be personalised to your own individual levels, tracking workouts and exercise to help you nail your health.

Doing this work will see health sensors will cover a combination of things, including optical heart rate, electrical heart (ECG), the aforementioned bioelectrical impedance tech, temperature, accelerometer, while connections cover the typical assortment of Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC for payment, GPS, and if you pay for the more premium version, LTE mobile connectivity.

Regardless of the model you opt for, you’ll find a dual-core chip, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and Google’s WearOS, though this all sits behind the scenes, with the specs largely balanced to give you a wearable you don’t have to think about the specs for.

Samsung is suggesting up to 40 hours of battery life will be possible regardless of model with the always-on display switched off, while you’ll get ten less (30 hours) if you opt to keep the always-on screen on.

And it will come in a watch model that is a little brighter with a slightly slimmer bezel, offering as much as 20 percent bigger screen and gestures to control apps, as well, and covered in sapphire crystal throughout the range, keeping durability strong alongside the IP68 rating.

There’s an assortment of sizes to choose from to get these improvements, with the all-touch Galaxy Watch 6 available in 40mm and 44mm sizes, while the Galaxy Watch6 Classic with its physical ring controller will offer 43mm and 47mm sizes. Expect a 1.3 inch screen on the smaller models and a 1.5 inch display on the bigger ones, with AMOLED across the range.

“We know that Australians are seeking out premium, personalised experiences, and 88% have picked smartwatches as a key item to drive self-motivation,” said Garry McGregor, Vice President of Mobile at Samsung Australia.

“Our Galaxy Watch6 series, including fan favourite Galaxy Watch6 Classic, supports consumers’ holistic health journey by offering personalised fitness goals and additional health insights, powered by an upgraded processor and memory in a sleek and stylish wearable design,” he said.

Pricing and availability in Australia

As for pricing and availability, Australians can expect to find the Galaxy Watch 6 range in stores from August 18, priced from $549 and as much as $849.

Specifically, the Galaxy Watch 6 will cost $549/$649 for the Bluetooth and LTE variants in 40mm and $599/$699 for the Bluetooth/LTE in 44mm.

If you want the physical controller for the Galaxy Watch6 Classic, expect to pay a little more, with the 43mm model going for $699/$799 for either Bluetooth or LTE respectively, while the 47mm model will cost $749 and $849 for Bluetooth or LTE, as well.

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